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Now that summer reading season is over, it’s a great time to tend to your youth collection. Below is a brief overview of weeding, collection audit and assessment, and purchasing tools.

Where do I start? Create Lists/Weed

  • Use Create Lists in Sierra to find youth titles that have not circulated in the last several years. 
  • Run a list to find titles that have circulated more than 20 times, 30 times, etc.
  • Run a list to find titles that have circulated less than two times, one time, etc. 

Once you have pulled titles from these lists, some might have to be removed or weeded, and others might not further consideration. 

Is your item:

  • M for Misleading: The information is inaccurate or out of date.
  • U for ugly: The item is worn or damaged.
  • Superseded: The title has been replaced by a newer edition.
  • T for Trivial: The title was written around an event and has been replaced with a more well-rounded items written following the event: election, historic event, popular culture…
  • I for irrelevant: The title is not relevant to the community’s needs.
  • E for may be obtained elsewhere: The same information is available in a different format or at another library.

Collection Audit

Auditing, or assessing a collection for specific content, is hard work. You can start with assessing sections of your collection, rather than taking on everything in the library. Small collection areas are great for honing your audit method. 

Does the collection provide resources for all cultures, races, sexes, genders, beliefs, and audiences?

  • Book club titles: Are the titles diverse?
  • Book/material purchases: evaluate your list of purchases by audience
  • Skokie Public Library (Illinois) storytime audit
  • Easy Reader Deep Dive, ALSC 2019
    • The library in this blog post evaluated her easy reader series with a homemade evaluation spreadsheet, and created a staff and user guide outlining: best representations of racial diversity, medium representation, and low representation of racial diversity.
  • Native Peoples: A Tiered Purchasing Plan for Supporting  Wisconsin Act 31 in your Classroom or Library
    • A tool to assist you in identifying and collecting appropriate materials about or by persons from American Indian nations. 
  • Diversity Assessment/Audit: start small, develop a methodology that works for you, jump in!
    •  “…diversity audits cast light on the homogeneity embedded within library collections, providing data that identifies gaps in representations of race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and other traditionally marginalized perspectives.” Measuring Diversity in the Collection, SLJ 2019 


Tools for Purchasing 

Consulting professional journals that publish book reviews is another way to encourage a high-quality, well-rounded collection. Below are a list of professional library and/or literary journals that publish book reviews featuring starred reviews. These resources offer review lists by genre and audience, which is a great tool when you are purchasing for collection gaps, specific needs, or for monthly purchases.

  • Starred Reviews: A monthly digest of highly recommended titles for young readers 
    • This is a one-stop-shop to find starred reviews gathered from the resources below.
    • Produced and distributed via email monthly by IFLS and WVLS library systems, books in this newsletter are given star reviews in the following periodicals: Kirkus, The Horn Book, School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and School Library Journal.
  • Kirkus Reviews
  • The Horn Book
  • Publisher’s Weekly
  • Booklist
  • School Library Journal
  • New York Times Best Sellers


For more information, contact Anne Hamland at ahamland@wvls.org.